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Ba'al and Yahweh imagery

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by ShamashUruk, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    I have this posted in here somewhere else with the source listed, this has to do with Biblical and Mesopotamia parallels, equating Ba'al and Yahweh.

    Various West Semitic descriptions emphasize either Baal’s theophany in the storm (KTU 1.4 V 6-9, 1.6 III 6f., 12f., 1.19 I 42-46) or his role as warrior (KTU 1.2 IV, 1.5 I 1-5, 1.119.26-29, 34-36; RS 16.144.9 334). These two dimensions of Baal are explicitly linked in KTU 1.4 VII 29-35, 1.101.1-4, and EA 147.13-15 as well as some iconography.335 F. M. Cross treats different descriptions of Baal as a single Gattung with four elements, which appear in these passages in varying degrees. The four components are: (a) the march of the divine warrior, (b) the convulsing of nature as the divine warrior manifests his power, (c) the return of the divine warrior to his holy mountain to assume divine kingship, and (d) the utterance of the divine warrior’s “voice” (i.e., thunder) from his palace, providing rains that fertilize the earth.336 Biblical material deriding other deities reserves power over the storm for Yahweh (Jer. 10:11-16; 14:22; Amos 4:7; 5:8; 9:6). Biblical descriptions of Yahweh as storm-god (1 Sam. 12:18; Psalm 29; Job 38:25-27, 34-38) and divine warrior (Pss. 50:1-3; 97:1-6; 98:1-2; 104:1-4; Deut. 33:2; Judges 4-5; Job 26:11-13; Isa. 42:10-15, etc.) exhibit this underlying unity and pattern explicitly in Psalm 18 (= 2 Sam. 22):6-19, 68:7-10, and 86:9-19.337 Psalm 29, 1 Kings 19, and 2 Esdras 13:1-4 dramatize the meteorological progression underlying the imagery of Yahweh as warrior. All three passages presuppose the image of the storm moving eastward from the Mediterranean Sea to the coast. In 1 Kings 19 and 2 Esdras 13:1-4 this force is portrayed with human imagery. The procession of the divine warrior is accompanied by a contingent of lesser divine beings (Deut. 32:34; 33:2; Hab. 3:5; KTU 1.5 V 6-9; cf. Judg. 5:20). The Ugaritic antecedent to Resheph in Yahweh’s entourage in Habakkuk 3:5 may be KTU 1. 82.1-3, which perhaps includes Resheph as a warrior with Baal against tnn, related to biblical tannînîm.338 Though the power of other Near Eastern warrior-gods was manifest in the storm (e.g., Amun, Ningirsu/Ninurta, Marduk, and Addu/Adad),339 the proximity of terminology and imagery between the Ugaritic and biblical evidence points to an indigenous cultural influence on meteorological descriptions of Yahweh. Israelite tradition modified its Canaanite heritage by molding the march of the divine warrior specifically to the element of Yahweh’s southern sanctuary, variously called Sinai (Deut. 33:2; cf. Judg. 5:5; Ps. 68:9), Paran (Deut. 33:2; Hab. 3:3), Edom (Judg. 5:4), and Teiman (Hab. 3:3 340 and in the Kuntillet ‘Ajrûd inscriptions; cf. Amos 1:12; Ezek. 25:13). This modification may underlie the difference between Baal’s epithet rkb ‘rpt, “cloud-rider” (e.g., CTA 2.4[KTU 1.2 IV].8), and Yahweh’s title, rokeb bāa‘ărābôt, “rider over the steppes,” in Psalm 68:5 (cf. Deut. 33:26; Ps. 104:3),341 although a shared background for this feature is evident from other descriptions of Baal and Yahweh. The notion of Baal riding on a winged war chariot is implicit in
    mdl, one element in Baal’s meteorological entourage in KTU 1.5 V 6-11.342 Psalm 77:19 refers to the wheels in Yahweh’s storm theophany, which presumes a divine war chariot. Psalm 18 (2 Sam. 22):11 presents Yahweh riding on the wind
    surrounded by storm clouds. This image forms the basis for the description of the divine chariot in Ezekiel 1 and 10. Psalm 65:12 (E 11) likewise presupposes the storm-chariot image: “You crown your bounteous year, and your tracks drip with fatness.” Similarly, Yahweh’s storm chariot is the image presumed by Habakkuk 3:8 and 15:

    Was your wrath against the rivers, O Yahweh?

    Was your anger against the rivers,

    or your indignation against the sea,

    when you rode upon your horses,

    upon your chariot of victory?

    You trampled the sea with your horses,

    the surging of the mighty waters.

    The description of Yahweh’s horses fits into the larger context of the storm theophany directed against the cosmic enemies, Sea and River. (The horses in this verse are unrelated to the horses dedicated to the sun in 2 Kings 23:11, unless there was a coalescence of the chariot imagery of the storm and the sun.343 ) The motif of chariot-riding storm-god with his divine entourage
    extends in Israelite tradition to the divine armies of Yahweh riding on chariots with horses (2 Kings 2:11; 6:17). Other features originally attributed to Baal also accrued to Yahweh. Albright and other scholars 344 have argued the epithet ‘ly, “the Most High,” belonging to Baal in the Ugaritic texts (KTU 1.16 III 6, 8; cf. RS 18.22.4’), appears as a title of Yahweh in 1 Samuel 2:10, 2 Samuel 23:1, Psalms 18 (2 Sam. 22):14 and 68:6, 30, 35 (cf. Dan. 3:26, 32; 4:14, 21, 22, 29, 31; 5:18, 21; 7:25), in the biblical hypocoristicon ‘ē/î, the name of the priest of Shiloh,345 and in Hebrew inscriptional personal names yhw‘ly, “Yahu is Most High,” yw‘ly, “Yaw is Most High,” ̔lyhw, “Most High is Yahu,” and ‘lyw, “Most High is Yaw.”346 The bull iconography that Jeroboam I sponsored in Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12:28-31) has been attributed to the influence of Baal in the northern kingdom. This imagery represented an old northern tradition of divine iconography for Yahweh used probably as a rival symbol to the traditional royal iconography of the cherubim of the Jerusalem temple.347 The old northern tradition of bull iconography for Yahweh is reflected in the name ‘glyw, which may be translated, “Young bull is Yaw,” in Samaria ostracon 41:1.348 The ca. twelfth-century bull figurine discovered at a site in the hill country of Ephraim and the young bull depicted on the tenth-century Taanach stand likewise involve the iconography of a god, either Yahweh or Baal. 349 Newer discoveries have yielded iconography of a deity on a bull on a ninth-century plaque from Dan and an eighth-century stele from Bethsaida.350
    Indeed, evidence for Yahweh as bull appears in Amherst Papyrus 63 (column XI): “Horus-Yaho, our bull is with us. May the lord of Bethel answer us on the morrow.”351 Despite later syncretism with Horus, the text apparently preserves a prayer to Yahweh in his emblem-animal as a bull invoked as the patron-god of Bethel. The further question is whether these depictions were specific to either El or Baal (or both) in the Iron Age. The language has been thought also to derive from El, frequently called “bull” (tr) in the Ugaritic texts. There is some evidence pointing to the application of this iconography to El in the IronAge.

    The title, ‘ăbîr ya‘ăqōb, “bull of Jacob” (Gen. 49:24; Ps. 132:2, 4), derived from the bovine imagery of El. The image of Yahweh having horns “like the horns of the wild ox” (kĕtô ̔ăpōt rĕ’ēm) in Numbers 24:8 also belongs to this background. Other Late Bronze and Iron I iconographic evidence might favor a connection with Baal.352 The reference to kissing Baal in 1 Kings 19:18
    and the allusion to kissing calves in Hosea 13:2 353 would seem to bolster the Baalistic background to the bull iconography in the northern kingdom. However, the mention of kissing bulls in the apparent context of the Bethel cult in Papyrus Amherst 63 (column V) would point to the Yahwistic background of this practice.354 It is also possible that a number of major gods could be regarded as “the divine bull,”355 as this title applies also to Ashim-Bethel in Papyrus Amherst 63 (column XV).356 The polemics against the calf in Samaria in Hosea 8:5 and 10:5 may reflect indignation at the Yahwistic symbol that was associated also with Baal. Similarly, Tobit 1:5 (LXX Vaticanus and Alexandrinus) mentions the worship of “the Baal the calf” ( te Baal tē damalei) in the northern kingdom. Despite the evidence for the attribution of “bull” to Baal in the first millennium, a genetic solution tracing the imagery specifically to either El or Baal may not be applicable. B. Vawter argues that “bull” means no more than chief “male,”357 a point perhaps supported by the secular use of this term in KTU 1.15 IV 6, 8, 17, 19 and 4.360.3.358 The anti-
    Baalistic polemic of Hosea 13:2 and Tobit 1:5 may also constitute a secondary rejection of this Yahwistic symbol, because bull iconography may have represented both gods in the larger environment of Phoenicia and the northern kingdom.

    In any case, the Canaanite tradition of the bull iconography ultimately provides the background for this rendering of Yahweh. Common to both Yahweh and Baal was also a constellation of motifs surrounding their martial and meteorological natures. The best-known and oldest of these motifs is perhaps the defeat of cosmic foes who are variously termed Leviathan, ‘qltn, tnn,

    the seven-headed beast, Yamm, and Mot. A second-millennium seal from Mari depicts a god thrusting a spear into waters, apparently representing the conflict of the West Semitic war-god with the cosmic waters (cf. the piercing, *hll, of the serpent in Job 26:13 and of tannîn in Isa. 51:9).359 This conflict corresponds at Ugarit with Baal’s struggle with Yamm in KTU 1.2 IV, although Yamm appears as Anat’s adversary in KTU 1.3 III 43. Yamm appears as a destructive force in the Ugaritic texts (KTU 1.14 I 19-20; cf. 1.2 IV 3-4) and a proud antagonist to the divine warrior in the biblical record (Job 38:11; Ps. 89:10 [E 9]). Baal’s victory over Yamm in KTU 1.2 IV 27-34 presents the possibility of Yamm’s annihilation (*kly; cf. KTU 1.3 III 38-39, 46) and then proclaims his death, an image that appears rarely in biblical material (Rev. 21:1; cf. Testament of Moses 10:6). 360 Various biblical texts depict the divine defeat of Yamm with other images: the stilling (*sbhl *rg’) of Yamm (Pss. 65:8 [E 7]; 89:10 [E 9]; Job 26:11); the crushing 361 (*prr) of Yamm (Ps. 74:13; cf. the crushing, *dk’, of Rahab in Ps. 89:11 [E 10]); the drying up (*hrb) of Yamm (Isa. 51:10); the establishment of a boundary (gĕbûl) for Yamm (Ps. 104:9; Jer. 5:22; cf. Prov. 8:29); the placement of a guard (mišmār) over Yamm (Job 7:12); and the closing of Yamm behind doors (Job 38:8, 10); compare the hacking of Rahab into pieces (*hsb; Isa. 51:9); and the scattering (*pzr) of cosmic enemies (Ps. 89:11 [E 10]).

    A seal from Tel Asmar (ca. 2200) depicts a god battling a seven-headed dragon, a foe identified as Baal’s enemy in CTA 5.1 (KTU 1.5 I).3 (and reconstructed in 30) and Yahweh’s adversary in Psalm 74:13 and Revelation 13:1.362 A shell plaque of unknown provenance depicts a god kneeling before a fiery seven-headed dragon.363 Leviathan, Baal’s enemy mentioned in CTA 5.1 (KTU 1.5 I).1 (and reconstructed in 28), appears as Yahweh’s opponent and creature in Isaiah 27:1, Job 3:8, 26:13, 40:25 (E 41:1), Psalm 104:26, and 2 Esdras 6:49, 52.364 In Psalm 74:13-14 (cf. Ezek. 32:2), both Leviathan and the tannînîm have multiple heads, the latter known as Anat’s enemy in 1.83.9-10 and in a list of cosmic foes in CTA 3.3(D).35-39 (= KTU 1.3 III 38-42). This Ugaritic list includes “Sea,” Yamm//“River,” Nahar, Baal’s great enemy in CTA 2.4 (KTU 1.2 IV). In Isaiah 11:15 the traditions of Sea//River and the seven-headed dragon appear in conflated form:

    And the Yahweh will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching wind, and smite it into seven channels that men may cross dry-shod. Here the destruction of Egypt combines both mythic motifs with the ancient tradition of crossing the Red Sea in Egypt. The seven-headed figure is attested in other biblical passages. In Psalm 89:10 the seven-headed figure is Rahab, mentioned in Isaiah 51:9-11 in the company of tannîn and Yamm. The seven-headed enemy also appears in Revelation 12:3, 13:1, 17:3 and in extrabiblical material, including Qiddushin 29b, Odes of Solomon 22:5, and Pistis Sophia 66.365 Yamm appears in late apocalyptic writing as the source of the destructive beasts symbolizing successive empires (Dan. 7:3). J. Day has suggested that this imagery developed from the symbolization of political states hostile to Israel as beasts.366 For example, Rahab stands
    for Egypt (Isa. 30:7; Ps. 87:4), the River for Assyria (Isa. 8:5-8; cf. 17:12-14), tannîn for Babylon (jer. 51:34).367 This type of equation is at work in a less explicit way in Psalm 18 (2 Sam. 22):4-18. In this composition, monarchic victory over political enemies (w. 4, 18) is described in terms of a storm theophany over cosmic waters (w. 8-17). Because of the political use of the
    cosmic enemies, Day suspects that a political allusion lies behind the figure of Leviathan in Isaiah 27:1.368

    Finally, the figure of Mot, “Death,” is attested in KTU 1.4 VIII-1.6 and 2.10 and in several biblical passages, including Isaiah 25:8, 28:15 and 18, Jeremiah 9:20, Hosea 13:14, Habakkuk 2:5, Psalm 18(2 Sam. 22):5-6, Revelation 21:4 (cf. Odes of Solomon 15:9; 29:4).369 Biblical Mot is personified as a demon, in the manner of Ugaritic Mot in KTU 1.127 and Mesopotamian mütu. As J. Tigay has observed, this background would explain the description of Mot in Jeremiah 9:20 better than either U. Cassuto’s recourse to the episode of the window in Baal’s palace (KTU 1.4 V-VII) or S. Paul’s comparison with the Mesopotamian demon Lamashtu.370 Biblical descriptions of the east wind as an instrument of divine destruction may have derived from the imagery of Mot in Canaanite tradition, although mythological dependency is not necessarily indicated in this instance. The juxtaposition of the east wind and personified Death in Hosea 13:14-15 may presuppose the mythological background of Mot as manifest in the sirocco.371

    Like the motif of the divine foes, the biblical motif of the divine mountainous abode derives primarily from the Northwest Semitic tradition of divinely inhabited mountains, especially the Baal’s mountainous home of Sapan (ṣpn), modern Jebel el-Aqra‘. This dependency on language connected with Sapan in Ugaritic tradition is especially manifest in the identification of Mount Zion as yarkĕtê sāpôn, “the recesses of the north,” in Psalm 48:3 (cf. Isa. 14:13) and the MT’s apparent substitution of Zion for spn in the Aramaic version of Psalm 20:3 written in Demotic.372 According to Josephus (Antiquities 7.174), Belsephon was a city in the territory of Ephraim.373 Saphon is the site of conflict between Baal and his cosmic enemies, Yamm (KTU 1.1 V 5, 18) and Mot (KTU 1.6 VI 12). The same mountain, modern Jebel el-Aqra‛, Mount Hazzi in Hittite tradition, occurs in the narrative of conflict between the storm-god and Ullikumi.374 In classical tradition, the same peak, Mons Cassius, was one site of conflict between Zeus and Typhon (Apollodorus, The Library 1.6.3; Strabo, Geography 16.2.7).375 Herodotus (History 3.5) records that Typhon was buried by the Sirbonian Sea, which was adjacent to the Egyptian Mount Saphon.376 Similarly, Zion is the place where Yahweh will take up battle (Joel 3:9-17, 19-21; Zech. 14:4; 2 Esdras 13:35; cf. Isa. 66:18-21; Ezekiel 38-39). The descriptions of Yahweh’s taking his stand as warrior on top of Mount Zion (Isa. 31:4; Zech. 14:4; 2 Esdras 13:35) also echo depictions of the Hittite and Syrian storm-gods standing with each foot on a mountain.377 Saphon and Zion share a number of epithets. For example, KTU 1.3 III 13-31 (cf. IV 7-20), cited in full in the previous section, applies qdš, “holy place,” n‛m,
    “pleasant place,” and nḥlt, “inheritance,” to Baal’s mountain. Similarly, Psalms 46:5 and 48:2 describe Zion as *qōdeš (cf. Exod. 15:13; Pss. 87:1; 93:5; KAI 17:1, 78:5 [?]), while Psalm 27:4 calls Yahweh’s mountain nõ‛am (cf. Ps. 16:6).378 As Greenfield has observed, nō‛am in Psalm 27:4 is followed in the next verse by wordplay or paronomasia on the root *ṣpn.379 Yahweh’s mountain is called a naḥălāh, “portion” (Ps. 79:1; Jer. 12:7; cf. Exod. 15:17; Ps. 16:6). The epithets for Zion and the way they are listed together in Psalm 48:2-3 likewise recall the titles for Sapan in KTU 1.3 III 29-31.380 The mountainous temple home from which Baal utters his voice and rains lavishly upon the earth (KTU 1.4 V-VII) appears not only in descriptions of Yahweh roaring from Zion (Joel 3:16; Amos 1:2) or giving forth rains (Isa. 30:19; Jer. 3:3; 5:24; 10:13;
    14:4; 51:16; Amos 4:7) but also in postexilic discussions of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. The tradition of the temple home that guarantees the life-giving rains underlies the relationship between tithe and temple in Malachi 3:10. This passage reflects the notion that payment of the tithe to the temple would induce Yahweh to open the windows of heaven and pour down crop-producing rains. Similarly, Haggai 1:7-11 attributes drought and scarcity to the failure to rebuild the temple.381 Yahweh’s role as the divine source of rain appears elsewhere in postexilic prophecy (Zech. 10:1). Joel 4 (E 3) presents various aspects of the mountain tradition. It is the divine home (4:17 [E 3:17]), the location of Yahweh’s roar (4:16 [E 3:16]), the site of divine battle (4:9-15 [E 3:9-15]) with heavenly hosts (4:11-13 [E 3:11-13]; cf. 2:1-11), and the origin of the divine rains issuing in terrestrial fertility (4:18 [E 3:18]).

    In sum, the motifs associated with Baal in Canaanite literature are widely manifest in Israelite religion. The Baal cycle (KTU 1.1-6) presents the sequence of defeating the enemy, Sea, followed by the building of the divine palace for the divine warrior, and concluding with the vanquishing of the enemy, Death. This pattern of features appears in a wide variety of biblical texts describing divine presence and action. Rabbinic aggadah and Christian literature continue these motifs. Indeed, the defeat of Sea, the building of the heavenly palace, and the destruction of death belong to the future divine transformation of the world in Revelation 21:1-4. These motifs are of further importance for the long life that some of them enjoyed; for example, the motif of Leviathan is attested in religious documents into the modern period.382
     
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  2. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    Here is the problem in cherry picking similarities as you have done here. Outside of Israel you have polytheisitc religions where divine aspects, realms and authorities are divided among gods. Inside Israel you have a monotheistic religion that worships one God who is creator and master of all divine attributes. So while you can draw similarities to Baal, you can also draw similarities to many other gods as well. Yahweh only appears like Baal when you cherry pick the verses that appear like Baal, but one can cherry pick other verses to make Yahweh appear like another god like AN. It doesn't leave the conclusion that Yahweh must have been copied from Baal worship. What we have are known divine attributes, such as riding or standing on a Cherubim which many gods did in the area, which get used all throughout the region by different gods.

    In second temple Jewish beliefs these other gods are not vacant fictitious beings. Their stories are fictitious, but they are very much Elohim beings. That they would also include aspects of Elohim is not a surprising condition. (If I have confused any Christians please see here)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
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  3. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    Pre Israel monotheism isn't necessarily a concept, unless of course you include Egyptians. The idea of divine attributes as a conceptualization comes from Polytheistic belief systems, so not sure what you are driving at? As seen above plenty of verses show similarities between Ba'al and Yahweh, cherry picking is a bad argument, as the attributes remain the attributes.

    Furthermore, the writers of Biblical myths, are ultimately sectarian monotheist who attempted to paint a picture of monolarty as being shrouded in a division between Israelite's and other cultures, when that was not the case.

    Even Psalms 148:7 calls on the cosmic sea creature Tannin to join in praising Yahweh. Tannin being a Canaanite deity is given recognition in Biblical texts, and called to praise Yahweh in this passage. Mesopotamian culture, too, regarded monstrous creatures as subservient to deities, so the kindly attitude toward cosmic monsters is not an Israelite innovation.

    So while the book of Psalms recognizes in translation who Tannin is and that Tannin is called to join in prasining Yahweh, it shows the other cultures deities as well. The commonality is that in Mesopotamian cultures we see the same thing happening. So the concept is adopted, but the specifics differ from culture to culture.

    It would be very hard to paint Ba'al as An or Yahweh as An (Akkadian), the only commonality is that An like Yahweh would be head figure of the Israelite pantheon.

    Not meant to leave the conclusion that Yahweh is copied from Ba'al, two different cultures who worship a similar type of deity, with similar attributes. The attributes to both cultures being divine to that culture. Like the bovine which was sacred in Babylon and was often slaughtered to appease.

    Depends on how you transliterate El and what El is and in what culture El thrives, in Canaan it may be one thing in Israel another.

    Or another example the portrayal of the Word of God as a female entity in Judaism (Shekhinah) has a parallel in Mesopotamia: Ištar as the Word of God. In the Assyrian oracles, called the “words of Ištar,” the goddess speaks as the mother aspect of the supreme god, but can also be viewed as god’s “spirit” or “breath,” which resides in the heart of the prophet, inspires him or her, and speaks through his or her lips, thus being the functional equivalent of the Biblical “Spirit of God” (the “Holy Spirit”). It should be noted that the Biblical Holy Spirit was likewise originally female, and the masculine gender of the Christian Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity) is only the result of a relatively late (4th century) development. Thus, in both cases, the word of God is viewed as a female entity that unites with a human: with the prophet in Assyria, and with the Zaddiq in Jewish mysticism. The Christian Holy Spirit has been equated with the Old Testament prophetic Spirit since the early second century and made explicit in the formulation of the Nicene Creed (4th century): “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who … has spoken through the prophets."

    or another example when comparing events in similar cultures, Yahweh will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching wind, and smite it into seven channels that men may cross dry-shod. Here the destruction of Egypt combines both mythic motifs with the ancient tradition of crossing the Red Sea in Egypt. The seven-headed figure is attested in other biblical passages. In Psalm 89:10 the seven-headed figure is Rahab, mentioned in Isaiah 51:9-11 in the company of tannîn and Yamm. The seven-headed enemy also appears in Revelation 12:3, 13:1, 17:3 and in extrabiblical material, including Qiddushin 29b, Odes of Solomon 22:5, and Pistis Sophia 66.365 Yamm appears in late apocalyptic writing as the source of the destructive beasts symbolizing successive empires (Dan. 7:3). J. Day has suggested that this imagery developed from the symbolization of political states hostile to Israel as beasts.
     
  4. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    Remember the Greek gods? Zeus, Athena, Ares etc? Each of those represented a divine attribute. Under monotheism all the divine attributes must be represented in a single God. So taking any one divine attribute as you have done here to draw a connection to Baal is a problem generated by cherry picking. You could do the same for any of the other gods and draw a different connection. God does have some attributes to baal but he also parts the earth to swallow up men, creates laws, judges the wicked, rules over the dead, creates everything. If you pick a single divine attribute you are going to see a correlation to any number of other gods because other gods are designed to explain aspects of divinity.

    Psalm 148:7 is not a cosmic sea creature. Look at the whole chapter. Praise the ye the heavens, praise ye the sun and the moon, praise ye the waters above, praise ye the live stock, praise ye the earth, praise ye birds. He is going through all the created kinds and telling them to praise God. Remember when God created all this in Gen 1, even the sea creatures which are called by the same name Tannin? The word Tannin is in the plural here anyway, so it's very clear it's referring to the sea creatures both in grammar and context. You can't just take a word like Tannin and attribute it to the cosmic sea creature every time you see it. Every verse must be read in context to it's chapter. If you word search the Bible for keywords to form a similarity comparison you are going to wind up butchering the Bible.

    With that said there certainly are times where the OT uses Canaanite beliefs in their literature. That isn't because they believe in Canaanite beliefs but because Canaanite beliefs were representative of certain conceptual archetypes. This chaos monster of the deep is known in different forms, it's known as the earthlion or dragonlion on one side of the dead sea, and known as Yam or Litan on the other. For the Israelites it's known as the serpent in the garden of Eden. And you will find that in the OT literature they will switch the conceptual archetype from that of Canaanite archtypes to Egyptian or Chaldean. For example look at Ezekiel 32:2 where the prophet makes a direct parallel to the liondragon. The Lion dragon was the same archetype of what the Canaanites used as their water chaos monster. They used and switched between these archetypes continually to make unique points. They were not trying to verify the archetypes but to use them, either to speak to other nations, claim dominance over national gods, or for their specific differences to make a symbolic point.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  5. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    Are you attempting to state that polytheists didn't see their Gods as divine? As they would have. Whether divine is attributed to one God or many Gods, the concept of being divine is prevalent. God of the Biblical myths has differing attributes, but differing Gods are later reflected in Israelite cultures.

    God's attributes, "parts the earth to swallow up men, creates laws, judges the wicked, rules over the dead, creates everything." For the most part we see this in Babylon, Akkad, Sumer, Egyptian even Hittite cultures.

    The idea of idol worship, that is already a prevailing in Hittite cultures who are Indo-Euro as Indo-Euro's could not look upon their Gods.

    Ba'al being picked in comparison to the Biblical God is due to provincial innovations in those cultures, Israelite's come from Canaan, so of course they would more closely associate with Ba'al (Yahweh) in their respective cultures.

    I only pointed out Psalm 148:7, but yes in translation it is talking about Tannin. I don't see how Genesis 1 fits in the theme of praise?

    Psalm 148:7 Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:

    Let's now do a transliteration of Psalm 148:7, I'll use Biblehub (Psalm 148:7 Hebrew Text Analysis)

    In the Hebraic transliteration Dragons are used to describe tan-nî-nîm, תַּ֝נִּינִ֗ים dragons from strongs Hebrew תַּ֝נִּינִ֗ים translates to tannin, serpent, dragon, sea monster (Strong's Hebrew: 8577. תַּנִּין (tannin) -- serpent, dragon, sea monster)

    Furthermore, I don't see in transliteration dragons being used in plural form, in transliteration it is Tannin. Please see the sources, unless you disagree with strong's exhaustive concordance?

    Tannin in Canaan is a cosmic sea creature, the rest of the verse relates to joining in praise, which is not an Israelite innovation as in early Mesopotamian culture we see this as well.

    I am not word searching for anything, just look at the transliteration in Hebraic, unless you think the Bible was originally written in English?

    I don't disagree that Canaan had an influence on the Israelite's as the Israelite's came from Canaan. I don't dispute that Tannin is shown differently, this will happen concerning cultural diffusion. I don't disagree that benevolant beings are used to make certain points, I would further point out that anthropomorphic characteristics are made in many references to Biblical and similiarily Ancient Near East civilizations, but this is due to how they functioned, they are neighboring countries so of course they borrow.

    There is quite a bit of symbolism in those cultures. Derivatives of the Hebrew word for tent appear 343 times in the Hebrew Bible (not 347), and not always in reference to portable architecture. There is a false cognate that appears in 3 verses, and example of one is always in parallel with myrrh and other aromatic spices, and is identified with Aquilaria agallocha, a nonmedicinal aromatic aloe. The plant is indigenous to China and India, and the name derives not from Semitic 'hl, but from Sanskrit aghal. But of that 343 times it denotes domiciles, mostly portable. Also, The majority of nominal uses (148) refer to the Tabernacle, most frequently designated "tent of the appointed time", also "the tent of the covenant", "the tent of Yahweh", and simply "the tent". At times the heavens are conceived of as a tent stretched out by Yahweh, also tents symbolize life. For " times the heavens are conceived of as a tent stretched out by Yahweh" see Isa 40:22; Ps 19:5-6. Note also Plate 50a—a Mesopotamian tent hosts the sun disk. Virtually symbolism is an aspect of Israelite life among similar mono and poly theistic cultures.
     
  6. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    All polytheistic relgions saw their dieties as divine. However because of their polythiesm divinity must be divided into conceptual forms. Just like Athena (wisdom) Ares (war).

    Psalm 147 uses the plural form of Tannin. That is Tanninim. The word is plural in the text. It is also the exact same word used in Genesis 1:21 for the creation of the sea creatures, also in the plural form which no one is translating as cosmic sea creature. If you read the whole chapter it is clear the author is telling all of creation to praise God, as he does so he goes through the created kinds realms, and Bodies of Genesis 1. There is no possible way to draw cosmic dragon out of this verse. I know your version of strongs says sea monster, but it will say the same, in the plural form, for Gen 1:21.

    The iconography is not different because of cultural diffusion. It is being used by the prophets differently during the same time periods. There is no time for cultural diffusion to explain the real time variance here.

    In your last paragraph you touch on the truth of it all when you say "There is quite a bit of symbolism in those cultures". The entire ANE had the same archetypal beings but represented them through differing iconography. This is precisely why the prophets readily switch between iconography without switching being archetypal constructs. This is also why iconographic linkage in the literature is a not a representation of cultural appropriation. Yam, Lotan, Mushussu, they are all the same archetypal construct, where they vary is iconography and cultural history. The conceptual language is universal throughout the ANE, whether you said Tiamat or Mushussu an ANE person would understand the archetypal construct that you were refering to.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  7. Allandavid

    Allandavid Well-Known Member

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    Ethics? Morality?

    Someone took the wrong turn at Albuquerque, I think....
     
  8. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    Whether divinity is pluralistic or whether it is mono, in concept it doesn't change, divinity is an attribute. The only difference is that God is a combination of those divine attributes, but either way this development isn't seen until much later. Athena is also a much later development, if I recall in Greek polytheism.

    Being used plural or singular is an issue of translation, El and Elohim as discovered is used singularly and Elohim can also be used singularly or in plural form, the moody institute did a dissertation on this I think, I'd have to find it. To my first statement, that the calling of praise by one monster over another isn't necessarily an Israelite innovation, it is also seen in early Mesopotamia.

    I'd say that using Psalm 147:8 in referendum to Genesis 1:21 is cherry picking. However, Tanninim being used in plural form or in singular form doesn't change that the Canaanite's saw Tannin as a cosmic sea creature.

    Even the description in Genesis 1:21 or Bereshit 1:21 talking about sea creatures would need transliteration, but then again Genesis is a Deuteronomy book while Psalms is not, so hence different writing styles, I'm not sure what your statement actually proves.

    It doesn't really prove anything at all, what it shows is the original author's point and that is one monster or God or whatever making another monster or God or whatever join in praise of a higher being.

    "The iconography is not different because of cultural diffusion. It is being used by the prophets differently during the same time periods. There is no time for cultural diffusion to explain the real time variance here."

    Goes back to my point I don't disagree that Canaan had an influence on the Israelite's as the Israelite's came from Canaan. I don't dispute that Tannin is shown differently, this will happen concerning cultural diffusion.

    What in any of my aforementioned posting is Ba'al not equated to Yahweh per the verses posted?

    When I said cultures, I also include Israel as Ancient Near East I didn't preclude Israel at all. The notion itself of attributing characteristics from one deity to another deity, is seen in annex whether it be Babylon inferring Marduk to the Gods of Canaan, or whether it be Israel inferring Ba'al to Yahweh, this doesn't change the pattern of how those cultures operated.
     
  9. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    Yeah I'm learning the forums, thanks.
     
  10. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    Divine attributes are things like immorality, but also concepts like judgement, sustenance, wisdom etc.

    Elohim is a classification of where one resides. A fishes realm is the ocean, Mans realm is the land, a birds realm is the sea, an Elohims realm is the spirit realm. That is the nature in which it is both grammatically plural while also capable of being singular. It doesn't mean a god, just as the disembodied Samuel is not a god.

    We don't have a historical time line of Israelite theology to compare to ANE theology. The ANE wrote on clay, the Israelites wrote on paper. You can't compare clay to paper to derive origination. Clay last thousand of years, Paper especially doesn't.

    Looking at how the Bible uses a word throughout scripture is not cherry picking, it's exegesis. It's what we should do when we read the Bible. Genesis 1 uses the exact same word for the meaning of sea creatures as Psalm 147 which brings up the same aspects of creation as Genesis 1. The context is clear. I'm not saying that Tannin is NOT used as the cosmic sea creature, just that it is not used as one in Psalm 147.
     
  11. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    Divine attributes don't really equate to immorality universally, I can see that with Gilgamesh in Sumer myths, but not with Angel Gabriel in Christian myths. Also, divine attributes are equated to specific Godly deities, and in other instances for one deity.

    Nissaba for example is linked to grain and is probably due to the very nature of how writing began in the middle east and might reflect either the age of her cult or just the very strong association people still had during the 3rd mill. BCE since administration, that of the harvest f.e. among other things, was pretty much the thing that demanded some sort of accounting to be invented. As kinship among deities in various mythologies is about associating key attributes, Nisaba being put side to side with Haya and Nabû, both scribal deities, fits her role.

    So we see similar attributes with Haya much later on, due to cultural differences. Yet the indirect mixture of Babylonian and early Sumerian cultures shows concepts being adopted, same with Israel and Canaan.

    The only issue is, Israel at the time is unaware of equating Yahweh and Ba'al, this is discovered much later on.

    Elohim is a a name for God used frequently in the Hebrew Bible. So I'm not sure where you got that information? Also The "–im" ending denotes a plural masculine noun.

    In older cuneiform you see early legends, myths, epics later adopted by the Israelites, so yes there is a historical theological timeline. I don't disagree about cuneiform and papyri as most religious content is passed along orally. Also, clay tends to break as it is sun baked and is a post deluge writing.

    Exegesis refers to interpretation of a text, and I stated Genesis and Psalms would require research to know the differences inferred. Genesis making refernce to creatures of the deep while Psalm calls in a Canaanite creature to join in praising of Yahweh, is sort of irrelevant it means very little, even if creatures is described as Tannin in both texts or even as fish. The plural and singular use of "dragons" to represent Tannin or Tanninim would indicate either a pluralistic or singular use of Tannin or Tanninim.

    In the Hebraic transliteration Dragons are used to describe tan-nî-nîm, תַּ֝נִּינִ֗ים dragons from strongs Hebrew תַּ֝נִּינִ֗ים translates to tannin, serpent, dragon, sea monster. You'd have to look at how strong's uses it. But regardless "dragons" doesn't refer to anything other than tannin or in the plural tanninim. Unless dragon or dragons refer to something else completely?
     
  12. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    Angels are immortal. Their primary realm is not of flesh and blood but of spirit. Mortality refers to flesh and blood. Gilgamesh was only 2/3rds divine, he was not immortal. He would be a demi-god.

    Elohim is not Gods name, it is used sometimes in reference to God, such as "Elohim Yahweh". The deceased Samuel is an Elohim, as are the angels. It neither means in English God, or in Hebrew as "THE" name of God.

    You can only assert that the Israelites copied from these Sumerian texts. Like I said earlier there is only a 1% similarity, and of that 1% most of it is used in the opposite direction. I will also add that the similarities are so sparse in any particular text that it would require the Israelites to gather their entire theology from a multitude of texts by inexplicably cherry picking minute and arbitrary pieces from those texts, reversing their meaning and combining them to form a tiny portion of their own belief.

    Genesis 1:21 makes reference to sea creatures. Full stop. Tannin in Gen 1:21 refers to the created kind of sea creatures. Not cosmic dragons...but sea creatures. Psalm 147 goes through the created kinds, bodies, and processes as in Genesis 1...Livestock kind, bird kind, fish kind, moon, sun, stars, waters above, waters below. He is telling all of creation to praise God. If you put "cosmic dragon" here then he leaves out the created fish kind. That would make no sense. There is no contextual clue here to read in "cosmic dragon". The context gives us the meaning of this word, it's sea creatures here, or in archaic language "monsters".

    I understand that Tannin can be used for dragons, but it is not used as such here. The context makes it clear, and it's plural. The cosmic dragon is one entity, not multiple, so if it referred to the Cosmic Dragon the text would read Tannin, not Tanninim. The only way to see Cosmic Dragon here is to ignore the context of the chapter, and that is eisegesis.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  13. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    To begin with, my assertion is that monotheism is developed from polytheist, both directly and indirectly. The best analogy, USA and Mexico have presidents, and for this we can assume Mexico adopts the idea of having a president in their country. However, the president in US has different characteristics than the one in Mexico, looks different, acts different, yet the concept of having a president is adopted.

    Per your statement "divine attributes are things like immorality", your words were immorality which is the state or quality of being immoral; wickedness. Secondly, while for example Gabriel is thought to be immortal, Gilgamesh begins as a demi-god after attempting to save Enkidu, however in a much earlier Sumerian tablet he is immortal in Uruk. But none of that was the point I was making. The word you used was immorality, not immortality, I see Gilgamesh as beginning as immoral as he was sort of a bully to begin with, while Gabriel is seen as moral. I don't disagree that Gilgamesh is seen as a Demi-God, but your use of the world "immorality" was confusing.

    You used Elohim to describe places, and now it is referenced to God, which I don't disagree on the inference to a God figure. Per my research Elohim: a name for God used frequently in the Hebrew Bible. In the Tanakh we find that Elohim is plural of El. I am not sure what your point is.

    Even in strong's concordance we find that the original word in Hebrew is אֱלֹהִים and it translates elohim: God, god and from the word origin is Eloah and word of origin is El: God, in pl. gods. Yet Strongs denotes El as God, and it denotes Elohim as God as well. Unless you disagree with Strong's which I would find interesting and would ask why.

    Back to my original contention, that monotheism is developed from polytheist, both directly and indirectly. So please show where there is only 1% similarity, being used in the opposite direction as in Israelite's used concept from Akkad, Sumer, Babylon opposite of how those cultures used them?

    We see in Sumer the name Anu for their Sky God, we see in Akkad the name An for their sky God (and this is polytheistic cultures), so we see similarily the same name, yet they may have differing attributes. We see Ba'al as a storm God in Canaan and Yahweh as a storm God, we see similar attributes, while we see differing names. Also in the biblical hypocoristicon ‘ē/î, the name of the priest of Shiloh, and in Hebrew inscriptional personal names yhw‘ly, “Yahu is Most High,” yw‘ly, “Yaw is Most High,” ̔lyhw, “Most High is Yahu,” and ‘lyw, “Most High is Yaw.” The bull iconography that Jeroboam I sponsored in Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12:28-31) has been attributed to the influence of Baal in the northern kingdom. This imagery represented an old northern tradition of divine iconography for Yahweh used probably as a rival symbol to the traditional royal iconography of the cherubim of the Jerusalem temple. The old northern tradition of bull iconography for Yahweh is reflected in the name ‘glyw, which may be translated, “Young bull is Yaw,” in Samaria ostracon 41:1. The ca. twelfth-century bull figurine discovered at a site in the hill country of Ephraim and the young bull depicted on the tenth-century Taanach stand likewise involve the iconography of a god, either Yahweh or Baal.

    But please explain how the similarities are sparse? This has very little actually to do with the adoption of monotheism by the Israelite's, and more so to do with the how the Israelite's would have viewed their captors the Babylonians.

    My original point was that Psalm 148:7 calls on the cosmic sea creature Tannin to join in praising Yahweh. Tannin being a Canaanite deity is given recognition in Biblical texts, and called to praise Yahweh in this passage. Mesopotamian culture, too, regarded monstrous creatures as subservient to deities, so the kindly attitude toward cosmic monsters is not an Israelite innovation.

    You are making claim that Psalm 148:7 is not a cosmic sea creature.

    So in the Hebraic transliteration Dragons are used to describe tan-nî-nîm, תַּ֝נִּינִ֗ים dragons from strongs Hebrew תַּ֝נִּינִ֗ים translates to tannin, serpent, dragon, sea monster.

    In Psalm 148:7 it denotes itself that "dragons" transliterates to tan-nî-nîm, and to the people of Canaan Tannin or if you want Tan-nî-nîm the plural usage of the word is still a monster or monsters, Tannin would have to be Cosmic as Tannin is an evil sea creature also he is depicted as with having a double tail.

    Also I am not talking about the usage of Tannin or Tannînîm in Israelite literature, but if you want, Tannin in Jewish Myths is consolidated with Leviathan and Rahab.

    But how does any of this not mean that in Mesopotamian cultures higher beings called in lower being to praise?

    Yes, my point Tannin is seen in Canaan as an evil creature. While in Israelite context they see it differently, my reference was to Canaan.
     
  14. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    Also plural for Tannin doesn't denote much difference in the usage of describing sea monsters, but this is the same dilemma as the adoption of the Sabbath which in Meso is meant for Sapattu (spelling may be off), wherein their celebration of the Sabbath is Saturday modernly and in Meso it is the 15th day of the month. So the origins are the concern, and since Canaan predates Israel, Tannin is an adoption much later on in Israelite culture and in Genesis and in Psalm from its original usage.
     
  15. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    Also, if you can look at the dialogue between myself and Quid Est Veritas. Check my other postings, thanks.
     
  16. FreeinChrist

    FreeinChrist CF Advisory team Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    Moved from Ethics and Morality to Christianity and World Religions
     
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